Gugu Zulu will be a good angel in heaven - youth at academy he supported

2016-07-21 12:07
Racing driver Gugu Zulu and a rider of the Diepsloot Mountain Bike Academy, Lawrence Mogano (Supplied: Andre Ross)

Racing driver Gugu Zulu and a rider of the Diepsloot Mountain Bike Academy, Lawrence Mogano (Supplied: Andre Ross)

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Johannesburg - Gugu Zulu fulfilled his purpose and will make a good angel in heaven, a Diepsloot Mountain Bike Academy member said on Wednesday.

The academy, of which Zulu was a strong supporter, provides basic mountain bike and life skills training to underprivileged youth in and around Diepsloot.

"I think Gugu fulfilled his life's purpose on earth. The passing of someone is God's way of promoting them to heaven and Gugu will be a good angel in heaven," Nicky Mokgoko said.

She would remember the race car driver as a happy and bubbly person. 

Another rider at the academy, Methoa Mabasa, 18, said Zulu taught them to never give up, because he was someone who never gave up. 

"He was a hero and mentor to all of us. His passing was not good news to us. We are saddened by it," Mabasa said.

Memorial bicycle ride

Clement Mabula, 23, would remember Zulu as a kind and friendly person. 

"He taught me to believe that everything was possible in life. The academy changed my life for the better," Mabula said.

Ephaphrus Segoale, 21, said Zulu taught him everything he needed to know about cycling. 

"The lesson I will always remember was him telling us to always love and take care of our bicycles," Segoale said.

The academy’s chairperson, Andre Ross, told News24 they would honour  him with a memorial bicycle ride. 

"We are also going to have a tribute bicycle that some of the people are going to sign. We will keep the bike at the academy," Ross said.


Racing driver Gugu Zulu and chairman of the Diepsloot Mountain Bike Academy, Andre Ross. (Supplied: Andre Ross)

Transformation in cycling

He met the adventurer when he was training for his first Absa Cape Epic. 

"He unfortunately did not qualify for the race that year because of his fitness levels. We eventually became friends through cycling," Ross said.

They realised there were not a lot of black people involved in cycling and in 2012 decided to do something about it. 

"One of his key passions was to transform sport and find a way to use mountain biking to get more youth involved. We wanted to use it as a tool to educate the youth," he said.

Ross said Zulu had a direct hand in the careers of four riders who have represented South Africa in international competitions. 

Zulu, 38, died on Sunday while climbing Mount Kilimanjaro with his wife Letshego and several other South Africans taking part in the Trek4Mandela expedition. Experienced mountaineer, Sibusiso Vilane, was leading the team. They had aimed at reaching the summit on Monday, for Mandela Day.


Gugu Zulu and some of the riders of the Diepsloot Mountain Bike Academy. (Supplied: Andre Ross)

Body to be brought back to SA

The Nelson Mandela Foundation said they did not know the cause of Zulu's death, only that he had suffered breathing problems.

"The medical team supporting the trek put him on a drip and they descended the mountain with him. We are informed that the medical teams tried everything possible to save his life."

On Tuesday, arrangements were being made to bring Zulu's body back to South Africa.

Ross said Zulu had a great rapport with the children at the academy and a phenomenal ability to connect with them.

"He addressed them as champions. He would also refer to the kids as if they had already won something," Ross said.

This was a true indication of the impact Zulu had on every rider at the academy. 

The memorial ride would be held in Lanseria on Saturday morning at 08:30. Riders were requested to wear red. 

"Whenever Gugu was riding, he was always wearing red, that is why we asked everyone attending to wear red in his honour," Ross said.

- Visit the tribute ride's Facebook page for more information. 

Read more on:    gugu zulu  |  johannesburg

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